S.O.A.R. (Stratford, Oxford, Abbey Representatives) which is an organized group of neighbors who meet monthly to address neighborhood concerns and plan ways to improve the overall quality of our neighborhood.
Heights of Hope Fest: A yearly cultural celebration that brings together church and community in a way that highlights the rich diversity of our community. It is a free event that showcases the talents of our community via food, art, music, and performances.
Neighborhood Cleanups: Several times throughout the year, members of SOAR and Heights of Hope organize neighborhood wide cleanups, inviting residents to take advantage of dumpsters to get rid of large unwanted items, and to pick up trash. Once a year we also provide free flowers for residents to liven up their yards, mailboxes, and porches!
The Christmas Store: Families who are registered for the Christmas Store have the opportunity to accrue “credit” through volunteer hours. The credit can then be applied to purchases made at The Christmas Store. For more detailed information about the store or how to donate, please click here.
Youth Mentoring: At Heights of Hope we believe firmly in investing into the development of our youth! We believe that having a positive, committed mentor can have a significant impact on the course of a child’s life, and run a mentoring program that currently matches about 40 mentors with youth from our neighborhood. Mentors commit to meeting once a week with their mentee, and our staff is continously providing fun, free, and creative activities that mentors and mentors can participate in!
Tutoring: Heights of Hope keeps it’s community center open and available for kids to access computers and get homework help, and during the summer months runs a tutoring program during Blacktop Rec, a daycamp held at Calvary on 8th.
WHOA!: WHOA is our community health and fitness program (and no, it doesn’t stand for anything other than WHOA!). This program is designed to combat some of the challenges of the inactive summer months, and to help address the concern of childhood obesity. Three times a week during the summer, youth and adults can participate in health and fitness activities, including rock climbing, soccer lessons, dance, tae kwon do, etc. Fitness lessons are taught, and all summer long individuals train for the Heights of Hope 5k or 1.5 Mile at the end of the summer. Through this program, kids have the opportunity to earn a brand new pair of running shoes before the school year starts!
Explosion: A community arts program designed to allow youth and adults the opportunity to explore their creative gifts and develop new skills. Students choose a class from a variety of options (guitar, woodworking, dance, photography, etc.) and over the course of ten weeks work with teachers from our neighborhood and our partner churches to explore their creativity and learn new skills. The session ends with an exhibition where the students are able to display their talents for their families and friends. We also encourage Explosion participants to showcase their talents at the Heights of Hope Fest.
The Eastside Food Pantry and Food-Co Op: The Eastside Food pantry currently serves over 300 families from the Holland Heights Community. It is located in the basement of Calvary Reformed Church, and is supported by all of our partner churches. It is open three times a week and families are able to use it every two weeks. We are also in partnership with Feeding America West Michigan. The Food Co-Op is alternative option that currently serves 12-13 families who participate bi-weekly in a food sharing program. Each individual has responsibilities and pays a membership fee. The co-op meets as a group, has a time of prayer and encouragement, and then participates in food sharing.
While many of our programs and activities are strong and well run, perhaps our greatest initiative is our desire to build healthy, positive relationships with people in our community. We want to become good neighbors and friends, people that can be trusted and leaned on during difficult times, as well as rejoice together in good times. We want to empower people to use the wonderful talents that God has given them, but that the world often ignores. And most of all, we want every person we come in contact with to know that they are valued and loved.